Luke - University of Nottingham

B Communication
Semester 2, 2016 & Semester 1, 2017

Academic experience

For the duration of my studies, I was in the business school at Nottingham and had to do approximately six classes each semester. Each class has approximately two tutorials and weekly lectures meaning your weekly timetable changes from week to week and this can be quite the adjustment from UQ. A challenge of this can mean, depending on your classes, if you are studying classes with written assessments you're more likely to have everything due in November or December and these can be hefty 3,000-word essays all due in the space of two weeks. On the other hand, when studying for exams you're also more likely to have to begin delegating the amount of work you can memorise as opposed to entire lectures just given you have six classes with 12 weeks of content to revise for. This approach is essential as Nottingham takes a very theoretical approach to business, so you can be doing subjects that sound practical like 'Branding and Advertising', but you will only look at advertising theory. My ultimate suggestions would be just to keep track of your weeks, write down every hint the lecturers give and use the past exam papers (a lot).

Personal experience

Nottingham is a beautiful city and the UK is a great country that I greatly love because, at the end of the day, it's a diverse nation with some superb people. I used Nottingham as my base and travelled to Northern cities like Sheffield, Manchester and Leeds, while also visiting London when train tickets were cheap (get a railcard or coach card upon arrival to halve train/coach fares). As I was also on exchange for a year, I was able to fit in interning in London for part of my time and this is an invaluable experience that few others can boast when you return so if you're on a Tier 4 visa, I highly recommend doing this. 

Accommodation

I chose to live off campus as Nottingham's halls can cost anywhere around £90-100 a week and I preferred to live in something more functional, save money and spend it instead of visiting other parts of the world. Nottingham provides a real estate site called 'Unipol', which shows approved and validated landlords as well as reviews for certain accommodations. However, a challenge of living off campus is you're not necessarily forced to meeting new people as classes are confined to lectures and two seminars a class, but my biggest suggestion to overcome that would be involving yourself in sport OR a society. In the same respect, I also have friends who lived in Halls and had flatmates that were problematic but inescapable as they shared their main living spaces.

Budget 

My rent cost around £325 a month and included all my utilities (including wifi which is essential). From there, I budgeted around £50 for living costs like food, an extra £20 for entertainment that is beyond a single drink at a pub or event ticket, and travel varies depending on where you're going. From Nottingham to London, the lowest I paid was £12 for a ticket to St Pancras, but you can get to Northern cities like Sheffield, Leeds and Manchester for anything between £3 to £9 if you book in advance, have a railcard and, if you're very tight budget wise, book consecutive tickets on every stop a train service goes to the destination you wish to visit. Ultimately I would suggest you need anything from £150 a week (inclusive of rent) to be comfortable. 

Professional development & employability

From exchange, I've learnt quite a lot, because of my choice in classes I was able to work with Nottingham City Council for a project, I was also able to plan to intern in London during my Easter break in a marketing and PR firm. This was again invaluable and quite nice to mix things up compared to strictly theoretical studies you will do at Nottingham. I also during this time involved myself across Students Union societies and networks which, much like UQ Union, have a diverse range of interest groups that can fit your needs with events and whatnot. All of these experiences really filled out my CV/resume and in the process of applying to graduate work have been quite attractive to numerous employers (ranging from banks, tech companies or marketing agencies). If you want a job in big companies, you're off to a great start by doing/considering exchange, just make sure you're keeping yourself busy with extracurriculars to make it seem like you have varied experience.

Highlights 

It's hard to summarise what the highlight of your exchange can be. I personally didn't use my exchange to just travel around Europe and instead endeavoured to embed myself in the community as the UK is definitely a place I would love to live and work in one day. Because of this, I tried to make more British friends and I was able to have a 'family Christmas' with my close friends before I went to Bristol to join a friends family for the merry season. If you want to make lifelong friends as opposed to traveling, I would just suggest getting involved in things your passionate and interested in (cocktails are a valid passion and there's a society for that!). 

Top Tips

If you want to go on exchange, firstly just do it. Don't be afraid that you won't be able to make friends, be able to afford it or anything like that, from scholarships to Centrelink or socials, societies or sports, no matter your lifestyle there are plenty of options to facilitate meeting people and having a great time. Secondly, I also highly suggest going for a year (where possible) as opposed to a semester, I am very privileged that I applied for this originally but as I know so many people who wish they could stay longer, I really appreciate this opportunity to be here for an entire year. Ultimately, just do it! You're going to have a great time and few people don't.

Luke - University of Nottingham